1993-11-29 - Disruptive members

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From: hawkwind@dink.foretune.co.jp
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 3e27d5746686344d80fbcf81dced52cae560361a4c39709e82d026a32b33058a
Message ID: <199311290712.QAA06834@dink.foretune.co.jp>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1993-11-29 07:14:42 UTC
Raw Date: Sun, 28 Nov 93 23:14:42 PST

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From: hawkwind@dink.foretune.co.jp
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 93 23:14:42 PST
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Disruptive members
Message-ID: <199311290712.QAA06834@dink.foretune.co.jp>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

I would like to mention that it seems in the past two years (I have been a
netrunner since 1978) that I am finding myself fleeing quite often from
lists, forums, discussion groups, etc. that have disruptive people on them
jamming up my mailbox and polluting the creativity of each group with
incredible vile negativism. Besides being a personal problem for me, it is
also a professional problem as I am currently in Japan trying to launch a
10,000 player cyberspace RPG community. 

I liken people such to a situation where a group of friends are sitting
talking around a fireplace deep in creative discussion and a Felini style
circus band starts marching through the room playing at full volume. If
this was in your home, you would throw them out; if at a ski lodge, the
management would throw them out; if in a public place, the police would
disperse them for "disturbing the peace" (have you ever wondered WHY all
civilizations have such laws?!?). Yet in cyberspace, people toss out
phrases like "freedoms", and "rights" to excuse such behavior apparently
without much consideration to the "responsibilities" inherent in those

At a conference recently,  I spent over two hours talking to the fellow who
runs a large Moo about exactly this problem. He is also faced with such
people (although thankfully not quite so extreme), and his "society" is
having a VERY difficult time trying to develop procedures for dealing with
such people. He told me about a particularly nasty situation where some
girl in his Moo was "virtually raped" by another member. The Moo was
horrified, but could not figure out how to deal with the culprit. 

Right now, I think that perhaps much of the nets is still made up of people
who are experienced in netrunning, but the sheer quantity of new
inexperienced people joining is getting astronomical. If their initial
contact is with a group containing a disrupter type, then they may run
shuddering from the nets forever. If enough of them complain (to school
administrators, postmasters, political figures), then very heavy handed
laws will be slammed down in top of the nets in retaliation. It is a well
known historical/political fact that any activity that is not successful at
self-control WILL BE controlled from without, or smashed apart for "the
good of the people". 

From reading recent postings, I gather that many feel as I once did, that
disruptive people will just flame out and go away. And once that was so,
but no longer. I have seen over 15 groups laid waste in the past two years
by such people. They did not go away, but rather gloated over the deceased
corpse of the group. Many of the members of those groups I have not seen
again on the nets. I now firmly believe that such chaotic people have to be
dealt with and promptly. I am still unclear how to deal with them, but I do
know that time is of the essence. The longer they are allowed to pollute
your group, the deeper the cancer runs affecting everyone's perspective.

I look forward to any constructive comments.